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UTI

Put down the cranberry carton.

According to new research, cranberry juice shows little evidence of helping those suffering from UTIs.

Under new draft guidance in the UK, patients will be informed of the little benefit the juice can have and doctors will be given guidelines before prescribing antibiotics.

This includes doctors asking about the severity of symptoms and pain, and whether or not patients have taken painkillers.

The move comes in a bid to stop the growing problem of drug resistance.

Close-up of Strawberries

The proposed suggestions were issued by Britain’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Their motivation is to improve treatment for those who suffer from urinary tract infections.

The draft recommendations state that patients with cystitis should be made aware that "no evidence" exists to support cranberry products aiding the recovery of UTIs.

Individuals who experience recurrent UTIs should be informed that studies show “inconclusive" results that cranberry products prevent the infection from returning.

UTIs are caused by bacteria and usually, the body’s immune system can fight the infection, however, in some cases, a stronger UTI will require an antibiotic.

According to the experts, in conjunction with doctors asking patients about their symptoms and preventative measures, they may also require a urine sample to test for infection, to identify which is the most effective antibiotic for treatment.

Dr Susan Hopkins, of Public Health England, said: "Our surveillance shows that more than a third of laboratory-confirmed E.coli UTIs display resistance to key antibiotics.

We are therefore urging GP practices and hospitals to follow the new guidelines so they can prescribe antibiotics appropriately to their patients."

"This will preserve our antibiotics so that they not only save lives today but can continue to save lives tomorrow."

The director for the centre of guidelines at NICE, Professor Mark Baker said: "We recognise that the majority of UTIs will require antibiotic treatment, but we need to be smarter with our use of these medicines.

Our new guidance will help healthcare professionals to optimise their use of antibiotics."

"This will help to protect these vital medicines and ensure that no one experiences side effects from a treatment they do not need."

A consultation on the draft guidelines will come to a close on 5 June.

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Anyone who is prone to urinary tract or kidney infections will know that the onset of symptoms can be uncomfortable at best and agonising at worst.

And the worst part? Symptoms can hit you out of nowhere, feel like a tonne of bricks, and render you physically and emotionally exhausted because chances are you've done everything in your power to avoid one.

Wearing cotton underwear, wiping from back to front (Seriously? As if we didn't know that), peeing after sex and popping cranberry supplements is all well and good until you're struck down with another infection, right?

While seeking medical attention is advised, there are some things you can do at home which will help alleviate discomfort until you're seen by a practitioner.

These remedies are not miracle workers, but they're significantly more appealing than crouching on the bathroom floor and wondering why God has forsaken you.

1. Drink water.

Yes, it can be demoralising to be told the same thing over and over, and when an infection needs antibiotics, it needs antibiotics, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't get proactive with the H2o.

If the urge to urinate is constant and intense, it helps if your bladder is full, right?

No amount of water will get rid of an infection, but it will ensure you're not left hovering around a toilet with nothing to pass despite what your bladder might be suggesting.

2. Add bicarbonate soda to water

Bicarbonate soda helps remove the stinging sensation you feel when you're attempting to urinate while suffering from an infection.

Adding a spoon of it to a glass of water helps to neutralise the acidity of your urine, and ultimately makes trips to the bathroom a lot less painful.

3. Stay warm

Placing a heated pad between your legs works wonders and helps to alleviate the uncomfortable feeling you often experience before the antibiotics kick in.

Similarly, placing one on your back or lower stomach is one of the simplest ways to relax while in the height of an attack.

Again, it won't make your infection disappear, but it will offer a huge amount of comfort and if anyone needs comfort, it's someone with a UTI or kidney infection.

4. Listen to your body

While you know there is no way your bladder is as full as it's suggesting, the urge to urinate is strong and you have to listen.

So, even if you've been to the bathroom two minutes ago, go again and accept that you might only pass a teaspoonful, but at least it's something.

Yes, it's hideous and painful, but it's preferable to wetting yourself, right?

5. Take note

Not only does taking note of your symptoms and the regularity of attacks help take your mind off the pain, it's also incredibly useful information to provide your doctor.

Write down how often you get infections, the medication you have been prescribed, the home remedies you have used and the changes you have made to your lifestyle since experiencing these symptoms, and set it aside for your GP appointment.

This information is vital if you are susceptible to infections, and want to seek further investigation into the matter.

6. Take a shower or bath

UTIs and kidney infection can leave you feeling cold, shivery and fragile.

Taking a shower or a warm (fragrant-free) bath helps to keep you warm and comfortable until the meds can kick in good and proper.

And remember, if you have been suffering from recurring infections, and feel like your symptoms need further attention, insist on tests from your GP.

Your practioner can take urine samples and vaginal swabs which will help determine what caused the infection, and what you might be able to do in the future to protect against further infections.
 

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